Obtain a Smartcard

Contact your local RA

Within this section you will find a summary of the national arrangements for NHS Smartcards, and information about how to administer them.

Your local Registration Authority (RA) will manage card issues in your area e.g. providing new ones, adjusting roles etc. Contact details for your local RA are listed here.


Obtain/administer processes

  1. Release 1 (R1)/upgrade
  2. Obtain
  3. Identity checks
  4. Role adjustment
  5. SCR roles
  6. Locum/multi-site / SCR arrangements
  7. Use admin software (CIS)
  8. Unlock
  9. Renew
  10. Temporary Access Cards
  11. Passcode / contact detail updating
  12. Change site or cancel
  13. Future / feedback


Top tips


Q. How can I obtain a smartcard?
A. To obtain smartcards you will need to contact your Registration Authority (or if unknown your local NHS England team, who are responsible for commissioning the RA to provide cards and deal with card issues.  RA contact information may be available on your LPC site. Read more on obtaining smartcards here.

Q. If the pharmacy ODS code changes, do I need to update my smartcard? (i.e. will the smartcard stop working at that premises)
A. Yes, all pharmacy staff will be registered linked to ODS codes of the pharmacy sites where they operate the service on a regular basis. The exception to this model is the case of community pharmacists/dispensing technician locums who may need to work within many community pharmacies at short notice. In such cases, they will also have a user role profile registered against a generic organisation ODS code for a “locum pharmacy” that allows them to operate the system from any pharmacy.

If the pharmacy ODS code changes all users need to have the new ODS code added to their profile. Historically RA Managers had been able to add on the new ODS code before the removal of the old ODS code to aide transition.

To minimise the disruption caused by changes in ODS codes, a new ODS code should only be requested when a change of ownership occurs and the contractor buys out a business on a non debts and liabilities basis (i.e. the outgoing contractor requires payment for all items dispensed up to the date of sale). Further information: Allocation of ODS Codes.

Q. My RA has told me that they will not be issuing cards at present. Who should I contact to resolve this?
A. If an RA is refusing to issue cards or not issuing cards in a timely manner, we would recommend contacting your LPC in the first instance who will be able to take this up with the local NHS England team.

Q. What arrangements are there for Welsh Smartcards?
A. Welsh pharmacy teams should not need or use Smartcards. If you have further queries then Community Pharmacy Wales may be able to assist.

Further information and related resources



Return to the IT section: EPS home

Return to the IT section: SCR home

Return to the IT section: NHS IT systems

Return to the IT section: Authentication.

Return to the IT section: Data security and information governance

Return to the IT section: Data Security and Protection Toolkit

Return to the Pharmacy IT hub


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